The Curious Case of Jack Colback as my Candidate to Become NUFC’s Next Captain

Words by Aziz Khalil – follow him on Twitter @azizk47

Written for NUFC360 - a new brand aiming to bring you all things Newcastle United. Be sure to follow for updates. Follow them @NUFC360

The Ginger Pirlo. A Geordie-born captain; the first since Alan Shearer. How does that sound? This is no knock on Fabricio Coloccini, who has been nothing but utter class and trustworthy since he was first handed the armband in 2011. As the longest tenured NUFC captain since Alan Shearer, Coloccini has established a great reputation around the league and in the locker room but at 33 years old, it may be time to unfortunately move on. With the appointment of a new manager and infrastructure within the organization, what better time to select a new captain?

The way that fans and others reacted to Coloccini’s end of season open letter in May, whilst in relegation battle, may have been his last straw. People thought it was nothing but a PR stunt by the football club because the Toon Army were threatening to boycott upcoming matches. His production has unquestionably dipped as each season passed by, and having the likes of Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor and Paul Dummett next to him has certainly never helped. Coloccini was always a “lead by example” type of captain rather than a vocal leader. After all, he did stick with Newcastle through their Championship campaign but it’s also difficult to forget that he had a move lined up to San Lorenzo two years ago that was blocked by Newcastle.

Jack Colback isn’t the sexiest pick or the most talented player on the books, far from it. However, he does bring several traits to the table that deems him captain worthy, in my opinion. The Geordie turned Mackem returned to his boyhood club last season and has been an unsung hero ever since. To go from Sunderland to Newcastle in itself takes a lot of nerve and audacity, which speaks volume of Colback’s personality. He is extremely reliable and durable (played 35 out of 38 EPL games last season) and also received his first England senior call-up in August of 2014. Colback has always been known for his high work rate, passion, commitment and motivation to put his club ahead of his personal needs.

“In 35 Premier League appearances, the Englishman scored four goals, created 44 chances, had a pass accuracy of 88% and a shot accuracy of 45%, and won 17 headers, 12 dribbles and 76 tackles” (Credit: HITC)

Colback also plays the “intelligence” role of the formation, the center mid position, which is one of the most pivotal parts on a football pitch. As a matter of fact, Alan Pardew was grooming Yohan Cabaye to eventually take the armband from Coloccini; and he also coincidentally played the center mid intelligence role. Of course, Pardew is no longer the manager but you can sense how crucial it is to have a leader in the center of your midfield.

Moussa Sissoko or Daryl Janmaat could both potentially prove to be more than adequate replacements, if Coloccini were to hypothetically be stripped of his armband. However, let’s be frank, having an English, Newcastle-born captain would have a substantial impact on this locker room and team; whether from a communication standpoint or from a “feed off his passion” perspective. To win a trophy and compete will always mean more when you’re doing it for your boyhood club rather than anyone else. You can feel that urge and desire when Colback steps on the pitch. He knows when to put his foot in for a tackle but never played a Tioté-reckless style of game.

Arriving on a free transfer from Newcastle’s biggest rival, Colback has demonstrated qualities and merits that fit the captain’s role to a tee. Handing him the armband would mean the world to him. The most impressive part of Colback’s season is that through all the ups and downs of NUFC’s 2014-2015 campaign, he never once lost his head or looked impartial. Most 25 year olds would have succumbed to a write-off season, but not Colback. Now is the perfect time to move on; with a new regime, new manager, new times in the NorthEast and a new captain, appointing Jack Colback as skipper would be starting the Steve McClaren era on the right foot. Lead us to trophies, and they will sing your name forever, Ginger Pirlo.

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